“I am Chronos after all” He smiles wryly while holding the rear door open for me. For a short moment I am left alone with the sound of the rain falling against the car roof. I don’t understand. “Ed! I ask you to tell me what is going on, immediately!” I hoped my firm voice would bring the point across, yet Ed doesn’t even look back at me. “Erin, dearest, you can ask me anything you like once we recover your memory.” He starts the engine. Right, I don’t even know what we’re going to do next. Heck, I don’t know anything! “Where are we heading and where’s Paine?! We can’t leave without her!” Ed’s eyes meet mine in the rear mirror. “To the lab. Paine will probably be there before us. Anything else?” I don’t like this. I don’t like this one bit!
“Yes. I want to know why we’re running from those people. Who are they anyway?” A short moment of silence follows before I hear Ed’s chuckle. “Those people aren’t people at all. You’ve remembered that, haven’t you?” The winged man...It can’t be… “Angels?” My voice came out higher than intended. Ed glances through the rear mirror and confirms my words with a brief blink and nod. “Not just any angels, you are being hunted down by Lord Ismael himself.” Is-mael? “Ed, are you for real? I’ve never even heard of this before! This is not funny! Just tell me the truth, it can’t be that hard!” Ed points his index finger to the front window without letting go of the steering wheel: “Proof enough?” My heart skips a beat – feathers! – actual feathers stick to the glass! Suddenly I am very, very scared. He isn’t joking. This actually is real. “I’ve been killed by an angel.” What does that make me?
“Except you never died.” There’s nothing I can say about this. It’s such a mess. I simply vanished from this world, like I’ve been erased. The media published a suicide story to explain the sudden disappearance of the representative’s daughter. I am dead yet I’m alive. And now my past comes haunting me. “I haven’t done anything to upset any angels! I lived an ordinary life! This doesn’t make any sense!” I think I’ve gone insane. Maybe I’m having a weird dream, hallucinating? This can’t be happening – yet the feathers on the glass mockingly stare at me. I’m going to die for real this time… but maybe that’s for the better. A tear rolls down my cheek. Suddenly I feel my body press against the seat. We’re going faster now. “My, you girls keep getting me in trouble. Thanks for that! Life as Alltheia’s top medical dog was never as exciting!” Ed purrs while maneuvering the car through the traffic before making a sharp turn into a narrow street. A dead end.
He turns around and wipes the tear off my cheek. “You know, Ismael is not that bad.” I watch him unfasten his seat belt before turning towards me again: “He simply does his job.” Ed opens the door with a fleeting smile and gets out of the car. I haven’t noticed the heavy fog form around us! Something is going to happen… It turns very quiet again before I feel a shockwave hitting the car. I squint my eyes trying to see through the fog as suddenly the driver’s door opens behind me. “I bought us some more time. Ed Chronos at your service!”
To be continued…
Previous: Part 4 – Time
How it began: Part 1 – Paine
The cold drops falling on my face bring me back to reality. I must get back inside before the rain comes down stronger. Moving my body proves to be a difficult task. Have I put on weight? I smirk – can’t believe I’m being edgy after just remembering what had happened to me. No … it’s not the first time I’ve seen this scene. I’m disappointed in myself because – once again – I’ve missed his face. Why are the most important memories always the blurriest?
‘Paine!’ I roar across the living room. If only I had closed the glass door, so I wouldn’t have to scream against the howling wind… No time for that. ‘I remember! It was a winged man!’ Both, Paine and Ed storm into the room. ‘What did you say?’ she asks me with a confused look on her face as she heads to close the door leading to the terrace. ‘Here, it was a winged man who killed me.’ My voice fails me as I hold up the feather. In this dark room it seems to glow a little. ‘Let me take a closer look.’ Paine takes a step towards me as a lightning strike reveals her stern facial expression.
After a closer inspection the feather disintegrates to glowing particles right in Paine’s hand – this sight reminds me of hot ashes. What is going on? Her eyes wander off towards Ed ‘We’re out of time, Chronos. They’re here!’ The latter part sounded like a secret code for a specific plan of action, as they both nodded towards each other. I don’t understand the weird bond between them while they understand each other without speaking. Paine puts on her coat and storms out of the apartment. My already racing heart jumps as I feel someone gripping my arm.
What a relief it is to see Ed’s smiling face, I suddenly feel very at peace. ‘Erin, please wait at the car. I’ll be with you shortly.’ He walks me towards the elevator and presses the 0 as soon as the door opens. However, something doesn’t feel quite right – what was that eery glow in Ed’s eyes barely visible through the slit of the closing doors? Maybe it’s just my imagination. He’s always been mysterious.
Oh, this doesn’t look good at all! How I wish Paine was with me now, how could she leave me here like that! What is happening – am I in danger? Why didn’t they tell me… out of time… the heck does that even mean!? The fog of thoughts thickens as I feel an alarming presence creeping in through the walls. The air gets colder. I close my eyes, this can’t be real. Ding! The elevator door opens and I step into the empty reception hall. It’s so quiet as if time itself had stopped. Where is everyone? My own steps sound like thunder as I run towards the main entrance – I can see a car in front of it.
The street noise goes off as I open the door – looking back, I can see and hear people at the reception behind me. What? As I turn towards the street again, I see Ed waiting in front of the car. ‘Ed?! … How did you…?’
To be continued…
Previous: Part 3 – Feather
Next: Part 5 – Archangel
Just A Story #1 – Paine
“I’ll come over in a few minutes, Paine. I need some fresh air.” The truth is that I need to calm my mind before I can face our guest. I’m not myself ever since that night – did I really … ? “Understood~” Paine walks a few steps backwards before turning around and disappearing from my sight in elegance. Shouldn’t I be terrified of heights? Yet the terrace is my favorite place. It’s windy outside. The dark clouds are moving fast over my head, they seem too close. I wonder what’s so urgent, it is unusual for Ed to come over this late. We were going to visit the lab tomorrow morning anyway.
During the last 3 months I’ve been working with Ed, attempting to recover my memories. He served as my private doctor until I went from being the daughter of Alltheia’s representative to literally, Ms. Nobody. No one remembers me, I’ve seen my friends – I actually walked past them yet no one even bothers to look twice at me. Isn’t that the life I always wished for? I am as free as a bird now. Why do I need to know what happened, I could just take the life I was given and do whatever I want.
No, the reason I’m in this is because I want to know the truth. If it wasn’t for Ed I’d have no place to go to. Paine gave up her position in the lab just to keep an eye on me. But I don’t understand … why are Ed and Paine the only people in this god-damned city who still remember me? I’m not a ghost, or am I? Their involvement in my death is out of question – yet they are set to help me discover the truth by myself.
The wind gets colder as I catch a single feather gliding through the air from the corner of my eye. “Huh?” This feather … my body moves on its own I … I have to pick it up! It’s the feather from my dream last night. I keep seeing it over and over again! No, this can’t be … The dream … I can’t be sleeping! Quickly Erin, you have to look at his face, come on. My head hurts, I feel dizzy – as I let myself fall on the cold floor I watch the dream unfold in front of my inner eye. Within a moment – I find myself at the top of a high building – within a moment – I cling to the papers in my hands, this man … I have to see his face! He … he killed me! Echoing whispers run through my mind as I feel the shockwave hitting my chest. Time slows down as I fall off the edge, watching the magnificent winged being hovering over the building. I am nothing but a feather gliding through the air. “Erin White, you’re in my way.”
To be continued…
Previous: Part 2 – Memories
Next: Part 4 – Time
Our memories make us who we are. I close the book Paine bought yesterday and walk towards the window. The view from up here is breathtaking yet boring at the same time. It reminds me of a bustling ant colony. This place seems unreal.
Memories. Of course, I remember growing up, I remember the places I visited, the people I met … yet none of those memories is enough to give me a secure sense of identity. Looking down at the busy street I feel like this all is just a game, a wicked play designed to keep us separated from the source. Yet the people in this city seem so perfectly at peace. They fit in this world, all of them hold their place in it. They have families, friends. I see them fill the streets on the weekends. They do have a life, don’t they? Not that it’s perfect – I know they face struggles and feel pain. Yet the daily routine remains their first priority. These perfect citizen are built to preserve the status quo.
Nothing that I know about this place, none of the memories made here will change the feeling that there is so much more to everything than what we’re allowed to see. I feel as if the words I speak come out tainted. My mind is always busy finding the perfect pitch, will I ever be able to express myself freely, without the feeling of someone erasing my thoughts before I can speak them out loud?
My name is Erin White. And I committed suicide on a cold December night. At least that’s what the newspapers tell me. All of them. I can’t remember dying but the change of character, Paine’s appearance, all those stirred emotions and the confusion I find myself in show that something really happened. I did die on that night.
“I made you some tea.” Paine’s calm voice echoes across the room. “Come and join us, if you like.”
To be continued…
Previous: Part 1 – Paine
Next: Part 3 – Feather
Paine is my best friend. She’s the only being that keeps me sane in this dull, rotten place. I wonder how she can keep her stuff together surrounded by this madness. Oh, maybe it’s because she isn’t human. Why me? My thoughts are running wild yet I keep coming to the same conclusion over and over. I’m stuck, a prisoner of my own. Like a lost time traveller I feel out of place. Wrong era, wrong planet. Yet … I am here.
“Cheer up, sadface!” Her voice snaps me out of my seemingly endless trip. The deeper I go, the darker it gets, it’s tough to go back without a safety rope. “Paine, do you know what it feels like being out of place?” She gives me a cryptic smile. Of course you do. “Nothing ever is out of place, dear.” These words crush my heart. “You know it hurts when you say this.” I simply can’t ignore how I feel about myself, the world and my place in it. I’ll never belong, I’ll never belong. “Your feelings can’t change the truth of who you are. You’ll have to learn to accept it.” She always smiles. I wish I was like her. Maybe that’s why she’s by my side – without Paine I’d be a gloomy little sadface, at all times of the day. Oh, and I’d probably die of chronic depression, too. See, I make no sense. But then again, what makes sense on this Rock Bottom planet?
To be continued…
Next: Part Two: Memories